Colorado Gun-Control|Laws Are Constitutional

     DENVER (CN) – A federal judge on Thursday found Colorado’s gun-control regulations constitutional. They include a ban on sale of large-capacity magazines and require universal background checks before a gun sale.
     Gov. John Hickenlooper signed the two gun-control statutes into law in March 2013.
     The regulations were a partisan effort, in a Legislature mostly controlled by Democrats at the time, to stem gun violence in a state that suffered mass murders at Columbine High School in Littleton and at a midnight premiere in an Aurora movie theater.
     Two months after the regulations were signed into law, dozens of people, nonprofit and for-profit organizations sued Hickenlooper, the Mesa County Board of County Commissioners and other governmental agencies, claiming violations of the Second and 14th Amendments and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
     By June this year, the plaintiffs were whittled down to a group of 30 entities including Colorado Outfitters, the Colorado Farm Bureau and Adams County Sheriff Douglas Darr. Hickenlooper remained as the sole defendant of the suit.
     Chief U.S. District Judge Marcia Krieger found Thursday that the laws do not violate any part of the Second or 14th Amendments, nor the Americans with Disabilities Act.
     In the matter the Second Amendment, Kreiger found that the U.S. Supreme Court defined what it means to bear arms in District of Columbia v. Heller in 2008. The Supreme Court found that the core Second Amendment right is “‘the right of law-abiding, responsible citizens to use arms in defense of hearth and home’ and defined the right to ‘keep and bear arms’ as the ability to acquire, use, possess, or carry lawful firearms for the purpose of self-defense,'” Kreiger wrote.
     Kreiger found that Heller shows that though a citizen has the right to keep a gun for self-defense, the Second Amendment does not guarantee the right to choose the type of gun they use for self-defense.
     In the context of this case, Kreiger applied Heller by stating that the law banning high-capacity magazines does not take away a person’s right of self-defense with a gun, it merely limits what kind of gun one can have or what size magazine one can use with certain types of guns.
     She rebuffed plaintiffs’ argument that background checks violate the Second Amendment.
     The plaintiffs argued that background checks and transfers violate the Second Amendment because it is inconvenient for someone to go get a background check to purchase a gun or make a transfer.
     Kreiger disagreed, stating that inconvenience is not enough to claim Second Amendment violations.
     “Although the statute may result in logistical difficulties or inconvenience some individuals who want to privately borrow a firearm for more than 72 hours, it does not facially infringe their Second Amendment right to do so,” the 50-page ruling states.
     Finally, Kreiger said the gun-control laws do not infringe on disabled people’s rights under the American with Disabilities Act because “the statutes at issue do not create any governmental ‘output’ which disabled persons are less able to access.”
     Attorney General John Suthers issued a less than enthusiastic statement Thursday afternoon, stating “the Colorado’s Attorney General’s Office has never asserted that the laws in question are good, wise or sound policy. As it does in all cases, the AG’s Office has fulfilled its responsibility to defend the constitutionality of the Colorado law in question.”
     The Colorado Farm Bureau said in a statement that it is “extremely disappointed in today’s ruling from Chief Judge Marcia Krieger regarding the Second Amendment challenge. We believe this ruling upholds a regulation that is unfair and burdensome to our farm and ranch members.”

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